There will be no early reopening of driving test centres, according to Minister for Transport Shane Ross.

He told RTÉ's This Week programme that to carry out driving tests would be "a straight breach of social distancing guidelines".

He added: "It is very difficult to see a situation where driving tests will be introduced early because of the difficulties in people sitting beside each other."

"There is no way, in the average car, that you would have two people together without breaching social distancing guidelines."

"I don't intend to allow a breach of that. There are sacrifices that we all have to make, and discomforts that we all have to endure," he added.

Minister Ross also said he felt sympathy for young drivers who needed to get on the road for work, but that he would not allow them to drive unaccompanied on a provisional licence.

"That's a safety issue and it would be irresponsible for me to allow people who are on a provisional, and who haven't satisfied the requirements, to get a full licence to go on the road. I'm not going to do that. I am going to continue the rules as they are at the moment so that lives can be saved."

"I feel very sympathetic for the difficulties they are in. It would be wrong for them to drive when they are not qualified drivers because they might cause road deaths."

"I hope this event, Covid-19, isn't going to encourage people to take risks, because then we are allowing people to die for other reasons and that is not acceptable."

In April, the Government announced a four-month extension to learner permits which were due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

The minister said the Government would keep any further extension of learner permits under review.